Dad turned 59 today, so I’m going to count down the top 59 reasons that I love him.
Okay, 59 is too many. (As noted on yesterday’s post, today was my last day* of orientation, which means that I spent my whole shift thinking to myself, “HOLY SHIT, NEXT TIME I HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE.” For instance, while we were intubating my patient (putting them on a breathing machine) all I could think was, HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE NEXT TIME. Even the minor things started to feel more serious by the end of the day. Applying a dressing to a simple, uncomplicated wound. Documenting hourly vitals. Emptying someone’s foley (pee bucket). All of these tasks made me all, “HOLY SHIT, NEXT TIME I HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE.”)
Instead, perhaps a top 5.9?
1.0: Dad feels things about stuff. And I’m talking about all kinds of stuff. He calls me all amped up about everything from politics to sports medicine. Hell, he even gets psyched on classical music played by high schoolers. He listens to some talk radio show on Saturday mornings where kids play musical instruments, and the way my dad talks about it, you’d think that those kids were musical gods. That’s just what life is like in my dad’s head. He’s a mostly mellow guy with a surprising firey streak that runs right through the heart of him. It’s the best.
2.0: Dad loves teenagers. Whereas most humans get all fed up with teenagers and frustrated by their smartass comments and their maudlin self-explorations and their occasional “woe is me” attitudes, dad does not. He has this bizarre and magical way with people (and by “people” I mean “his kids”) between the ages of 12 and 20. Perhaps it’s the fact that he appreciates a good bit of sarcastic humor and that’s every teenager’s forte? Who knows. But it was a total life-saver during my former years.
3.0: Dad calls me for no reason. Sometimes when he calls, it’s all business. So-and-so has X medical problem, and my consultation is needed, thank-you-very-much. But more often than not, he’s just calling to shoot the shit. And I freaking love that.
4.0: Dad picks favorites. I know that parents aren’t supposed to pick favorites because it can cause long-term emotional scarring and blah blah blah, but dad never really held to that idea. He just picked favorites anyway. I am dad’s original favorite child. He loved me the most, first, before he loved anyone else the most. That’s because I’m named after my mom and he had a dream that I was just like my mom (which I mostly am, holla) and he loves my mom, so it only naturally follows that I would be his favorite child. Also, I have followed him around like a little puppy dog my whole life saying things like, “Dad! Teach me how to change the oil in that truck! I NEEEEEED to know!” And, you know, dads totally love that kind of stuff. After I moved away, SisterKaty was his favorite for a while. Then she moved away and Boo became his favorite. Boo is still arguably his favorite (loneliness does not make my father’s heart grow fonder, apparently) because of proximity, but I still hold several “favorite” titles, including “original favorite,” “favorite oldest daughter,” “favorite first child he named,” (Boo was the other kid he named) (Boo’s real name is not Boo, just FYI.), and “favorite financially independent married daughter with a bad-ass husband.” I’ve got all those categories on lock-down.
5.0: Dad read to us. This remains one of my all-time favorite childhood memories. When I was 11, dad started reading The Hobbit out-loud to me, one chapter a night. When we finished that book, we moved on to The Lord of the Rings. If you’ve ever wondered why I have LotR tattoos, there’s your answer. Because LotR, to me, means sitting on the couch tucked under my dad’s arm, turning pages and smelling his coffee as I took a long and dangerous journey with a bunch of short, furry-footed hobbits. FOR THE WIN.
5.9: Dad reads my blog every morning. He calls me on the days when I post late (aka the next morning, with a back-dated entry) and is all, “WHAT THE WHAT? NO POST. SO DISAPPOINTED.” I know it’s silly, cause it’s just a blog, but it makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that reading my thoughts is part of his morning routine. I love it.
Happy birthday, dad. Love you.
*If I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit that today actually went pretty well, all things considered. Much better than I expected. Well enough to give me a little glimmer of hope. In a year or so, I’m going to feel really OK about all this. Until then, hold on to your butts.